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Sarmassophobia (or malaxophobia) is the fear of love play. It is weakly considered a branch of philophobia, fear of love. This phobia is often associated with the persistent fear of situations, objects, activities or persons that involves love play, like unwittingly getting kissing by them a lot. This fear could have been a conditioned response because one knows that love play could lead to sex and this person might have an underlying fear of sex, rape, or of getting pregnant. Some might have an underlying notion that sex is bad as was taught to them by their parents or taught to them by their priest or pastor. Most of the people who fear love play are conservative women who were taught by their parents not to lose their virginity before getting married.

The main symptom of sarmassophobia is avoiding love play, or even not be in a relationship in order to avoid it more readily. People may have issues with the relationship and are often unhappy with their romantic life. This fear may have sprung from a traumatic event with a lover or even a dating game or even just a previous traumatic encounter.

The most accepted method of treating sarmassophobia is psychotherapy, which is used to acquire information about the fears, especially their causes.

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